Innovating Thread, Altering Perceptions, Cartoon-Like Forms, Work of Member Artists Fill HAM Galleries

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originally published: 06/10/2022

Innovating Thread, Altering Perceptions, Cartoon-Like Forms, Work of Member Artists Fill HAM Galleries

(CLINTON, N.J.) — The Hunterdon Art Museum presents four new exhibitions on view from October 2, 2022 – January 8, 2023: “Thread Hijack;” “Amie Adelman: Moving Lines;” “Fran Shalom: Duck/Rabbit;” and “2022 Members Exhibition.”

Thread Hijack,” curated by Mary Birmingham, explores what happens when artists take thread in new and interesting directions, away from its original utilitarian purpose. The six artists in “Thread Hijack” employ thread as an artmaking material or tool to expand or replace conventional mediums such as drawing, painting, collage, and printmaking. They use thread to draw a line, compose a shape, record a gesture, or glue elements together.

A thread is a tangible object—a long, thin strand of fiber used for sewing or weaving; it is essential in the construction and decoration of textiles. But a thread can also be a theme or idea that runs through a conversation, a piece of writing, or even historical events. This meaning has evolved on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit, where a thread is a string of messages that make up a conversation. An online thread begins with a single post and continues as a series of replies or comments. A “thread hijacking” occurs when one or more individuals lead the conversation away from the original topic, taking it in a new direction and creating a separate conversation.

Several artists stitch directly on paper using commercial sewing machines or hand sewing, while others innovate with needle and thread to make marks on a painted canvas. They all exploit the tension between fragility and strength intrinsic to thread. With their shadows and shifting colors, and intriguing surface textures, the paintings and works on paper in “Thread Hijack” are visually seductive and invite a closer look.

Participating artists include Abdolreza Aminlari, Caroline Burton, Natasha Das, Jessie Henson, Holly Millerand Raymond Saa.


Fran Shalom: Duck/Rabbit,” curated by Mary Birmingham, includes Shalom’s abstract paintings of brightly colored, cartoon-like elemental bodies. A skilled colorist, Shalom works intuitively without preconceived plans and improvises as she develops each painting. Inspired by the Zen phrase, “Not knowing is most intimate,” she explains its significance: “…It suggests approaching something with open-minded and whole-hearted curiosity. I try to begin my paintings in this way, with a willingness to be present with uncertainty, and with the confidence that the process will result in work that both satisfies and inspires.”

The viewer who brings this same kind of open-mindedness to the paintings may experience them in multiple ways. Just as we see clouds that resemble people and objects, we instinctively find similar forms in the paintings. And the more we look, the more they morph and change before our eyes.

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Shalom has titled her exhibition after a well-known optical illusion in which either a rabbit or a duck can be seen, depending on the viewer’s perception. By referencing this ambiguous image, she reminds us that even when an image stays the same, our understanding of it may change with increased looking. Once we are able to see both animals, it becomes easy to shift our perception back and forth from rabbit to duck and back again—an activity that occurs only in our brains.

Learn more about Fran Shalom at franshalom.com.


Amie Adelman: Moving Lines” is a site-specific installation in which Adelman uses cup hooks, thread, and mathematical formulas to alter and change the perception of a space. Unexpected optical color mixtures create rich hues and draw the viewer in for closer inspection. Shadows cast throughout the day activate the finished form, and it never looks quite the same from hour to hour.

“I chose to gradate the colors from yellow to green to blue to purple because I was thinking about the outdoors and the Raritan River running beside the stone mill at one time, and the river being such an important aspect to the mill,” Adelman says . “I was also thinking about the light shining off the water, the shadows and the trees, and it being dusk, which is where the purples become a very dark color.”

According to Adelman, when creating these installations, there isn’t just one yellow; there are eight different values ​​of yellow, eight different versions of green, and eight different colors of blue. This is integral to the installations, as it gives the color and the artwork a little more life and brilliance.

“I love when viewers interact with my artwork; walk around it, go underneath it, and you’ll find kids lying underneath it looking up. That’s when it becomes really fun; when viewers start interacting with it in ways you wouldn’t normally see people interact with artwork in a museum,” says Adelman. “I think these interactions need to be done. Curiosity is important. These interactions are also investigating the changes in the shadows at different times of day and year, considering this installation will be up for three months. Interacting also allows you to see the work from the back, front, top, and bottom,

Learn more about Amie Adelman at friendadelman.com.


The annual “2022 Members Exhibition” showcases the diverse talents of the members of the Hunterdon Art Museum. The artists work in various media, including photography, sculpture, fiber, glass, printmaking, oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, pencils, and collage. Wexler Gallery Owner Lewis Wexler served as this year’s juror and selected 31 works for the show out of over 100 submissions.

Wexler selected Aleksandar Popovic as the winner of the Member Highlight solo exhibition, which will be planned to take place in 2023. Popovic’s Endangered Land IX is part of his larger Endangered Land series, one of his three most recent bodies of work dealing with the general recognition that some irrevocable events in the future may change the face of our planet, leading to different conditions in which we populate physical and geographical spaces.

Popovic says, “This work reflects, on a more general level, the necessity of a global collaborative project for human survival and coexistence. It opens important questions: What are our hopes as we emerge on the other side after a passage through a turbulent time? How do we rebuild a new environment and reconnect with each other? What will the new landscapes in this future world look like?”

Learn more about Aleksandar Popovic at apopovic.com.


Exhibition Credits

Programs are made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts; The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; Hunterdon County Board of County Commissioners, through funds administered by the Cultural & Heritage Commission; Hyde and Watson Foundation; Investors Foundation; The Large Foundation, along with other corporations, foundations and individuals.


The Hunterdon Art Museum presents changing exhibitions of contemporary art, craft, and design in a 19th-century stone mill that is on the National Register of Historic Places. Founded in 1952, the Museum is a landmark regional art center showcasing works by established and emerging contemporary artists. It also offers a dynamic schedule of art classes and workshops for children and adults.

Hunterdon Art Museum is located at 7 Lower Center Street, Clinton, NJ 08809. The galleries are open to the public Wednesday – Sunday, 11:00am – 5:00pm. Admission: $7 adults, $5 seniors (65+)/military personnel/students, free for children under 12. For more information about visiting, see hunterdonartmuseum.org/visitor-information/.

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